Israel: A Model Australia

In recent weeks effusive congratulations have been sent to Israel for reaching its sixty-years as a State. Here in Australia, the Prime Minister, and the Liberal opposition, have sent warm salutes to Israel, and in the US there have been numerous extensions of congratulations to Israel for the “progress” achieved in the last sixty years.

For many Palestinians the deafening silence from the Australian government and opposition regarding their sixty years of dispossession and oppression have been considered an insult. In contrast, a few thoughtful columns have appeared in the press written by Peter Manning and Antony Lowenstein and Michael Shaik presenting the case for a recognition by Australia’s leaders of the plight of the Palestinians and some censure of the Israeli State for the excesses that it has committed in the establishment, consolidation and expansion of Israel over the last sixty years.

While these articles and commentaries are important in redressing the imbalance in the news and views about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict there is one element they have overlooked: a common history shared by Australia (and the US) and Israel. What is missing from these commentaries, probably due to the discretion of the authors, and what they fail to mention is that Australia (and the US) are actually extending their congratulations to Israel for following the exact model of state formation that led to the establishment of modern Australia (and the US). Australia and the US, and more recently Israel, have been responsible for committing the “necessary” excesses that allow for the establishment and consolidation of a settler- state on somebody else’s land, an act only possible by force, by imposing dispossesion, by creating oppression and practicing ethnic cleansing (where needed). Finally what all three states have successfully implemented, and this is the most insulting aspect of the process of creating a settler society, is the illusion that the new State is part of the civilised world, that it is a part of the world which adheres to the enlightenment principles of equality and liberty. This is the myth we live in Australia, which is also held by the US, and which we eagerly grant to the Israeli’s, lest our own bloody and brutal past be cast into the open.

What I abbhor as much as the violence, no maybe even more than the violence, is the charade and the hypocrisy that modern westernised states maintain regarding their own brutal and bloody histories, the same charade that Israel and its supporters continue to maintain, regarding the place of Israel as part of the “enlightened world”.

Noah Bassil

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10 Responses to Israel: A Model Australia

  1. Raffe says:

    The only difference, that i see, between the creation of the State of Israel and the creation of almost every other country before it is that Israel’s moulding of the land and statehood has happened in front of thousands of television cameras and billions of people. Every nation has a stain on their reputation, their own venal sins, and any country that overtly and excessivly criticizes Israel is simply asking to be called hypocritical.
    Colonialization look quite peaceful when depicted by a watercolour but it’s quite obvious that the realities were different. One can only imagine what the world would have been like if there was 24 hour cable news in the 1800s. The French Revolution would have been much bloodier and there would be far more international support for the aristocracy, considering the daily beheadings, and they would still be in power. Today the martyrs of the new French republic are immortalized.

  2. Jack says:

    Your right Noah…Peace be upon you.

  3. Raffe,

    The question is what lessons can we learn from the past to prevent future catastrophes? Yes, Australia and the United States had atrocious starts (and continue to make bad mistakes). But this does not excuse nations like Israel, Indonesia or China to behave with the same contempt or callousness that past nations have used (eg towards Palestinians, East Timorese, West Papuans or Tibetans).

    Captain Arthur Phillip came in 1788, Captain John Smith landed in 1607 whilst the establishment of Israel was 1948. It is inexcusable the way the Europeans behaved in establishing, Australia and the United States. Israel cannot hide behind the excuse that other nations did it so can I. The modern world has received the wisdom of the Enlightenment writers. Woodrow Wilson had spoken of his Fourteen Points in 1919. It is abhorrent that a basic democratic principle like a plebiscite was not offered to the people of British-mandate Palestine as the UN had offered to Greece, Czechoslovakia, Kashmir and Korea.

    All nations who support basic democratic principles should seek to identify the skeletons of their past. Australia is starting to look at past atrocities Europeans have committed. Israel slowly has started that process thanks to some courageous historians and peace activists. But there is much more that Israel can do in coming to terms with the inherent problem of forcibly creating a Jewish state in a region which for over two millennia did not have a Jewish majority.

    Mind you, this is not a one way street. Equally Palestinian and Arab neighbours need to ensure a balanced approach in their own histories acknowledging the tragedy of the Jewish community whilst identifying the unfairness of the international community intervening and supporting the mass migration of a community that had suffered greatly from European racism towards the Jewish community.

    http://palestineisraellettersdershowitz.blogspot.com/

  4. mustafa ramadan says:

    19 July 2008
    The creation of Israel was the most horrible crime committed in the 20th century, because it displaced the Palestinians, who have been the natives of the land for thousands of years, destroyed a whole nation and made half of it refugees all over the world, in order to enable aliens to settle on their Palestinian soil by using force, dirty politics against weak unarmed people. How will the British and American leaders justify their crime and sin when they will be questioned about that by their Christ.
    The West created the state of Israel to get rid of the Jews, and at the same time, to use them for protecting its interests in the area, and keep the Arabs weak and powerless. History has proved and is proving this. No need for endless talk and philosophizing.
    I call on all people who have reason and conscience to do something to end the tragedy of the Palestinians and their sufferings. 60 years of killing, closure, hunger, disease, persecution imrisonment, and countless injustices is enough.

    Mustafa

  5. Raffe says:

    Mustafa,

    I’m surprised that you believe that the creation of the State of Israel was the most horrible crime committed in the 20th Century. Do you really, or is this just hyperbole? What about the current massacres in Dafur, the horror of Japanese war crimes in the Second World War against Chinese and Korean civilians, the repeated massacres of Chechen civilians by Russian forces during the war which killed hundreds of thousands of civilians, the 20 year war in Uganda where more than half a million people, mostly children, are murdered by a cannibalistic cult and have you forgotten that in his war against Saddam Hussein the Ayatollah Khomeni deliberately sent hundreds of thousands of children (yes children) across minefields in order that their little bodies would explode mines so that the adult soldiers who followed would not be killed. Did you know Mustafa, that the Ayatollah also imported half a million plastic keys from Taiwan to give to the children telling them that they were the keys to heaven. Did you also know that the children wrapped up their bodies in blankets so that their limbs would be together in heaven.

    The various wars during the 90s between the Yugoslavs, Croats and Bosnians which have killed hundreds of thousands of civilians. The Khmer Rouge and their massacres and attempt to bring the country back to the Year Zero which resulted in hundreds of thousands of dead. The suffering of the short-lived state of Biafra which led to millions of children suffering from extreme starvation. An entire country was wiped out in only a few years.

    The wars between Liberia and Sierra Leone which over a ten year period which killed more than 250,000 people. Not to mention the second Congo war which has killed more than 5 million people over 8 years and of course the Holocaust which killed more than 11 million ethnic minorities and 30 million civilian and military casualties. This is not even mentioning the gross suffering that the Palestinians suffered under the PA or the Jordanians such as Black September.

    These are war crimes that i’ve found with little research. Whilst the Palestinians have suffered a great deal to say that the creation of the State of Israel was the most horrible crime committed in the last hundred years proves ignorant and is an insult to the million of people who have suffered under the oppressive heel. Comments such as that trivialize the suffering of millions upon millions of people.

  6. mustafa ramadan says:

    Raffe,

    Your way of debating hasn’t changed. It’s the ever-Zionist method of irrelevant justification and constant attempts to distract and mislead the reader. Israel is a functional society created to serve the West and other imperialists. Past, present and future proved, is proving, and will prove this. The 2006 war against Lebanon is the latest stark example. The Jews tragedy is that they don’t learn from history.

    Victorious at the Wailing Wall
    Sped up their certain fall
    Crusaders perished and the Mongol
    Are an exception to invaders all ??? !!!

    You have tired the whole world for one whole century. Aren’t you tired ??? !!! Peace will certainly prevail in the Middle East if Israel ceases to exist. Why don’t you hurry and help with this and save thousands of lives, and help millions of miserable innocents ??

    Mustafa

  7. llwynn says:

    The only reason I’ve approved this one comment (above) is to refute it, though frankly I contemplated just deleting it on the grounds that it is racist.

    Mustafa, it’s disgusting to hear such a statement as “the Jews [sic] tragedy is that they don’t learn from history.” There are 2 ways to break down the trouble with such a statement. First, the leap from “Zionist” to “Jewish” falls into the trap that many Zionists want you to believe: that Jew and Zionist are synonymous. There are many Jews who are not Zionist. There are entire Jewish movements that are anti-Zionist, as a matter of fact, and who justify this on religious grounds — it has nothing to do with politics (see, for example, http://www.jewsnotzionists.org/). And then there are the many great Jewish intellectuals, usually leftists, who individually oppose Zionism. Think people like Noam Chomsky.

    Second, it’s just ridiculous to make claims about an entire group of people. Like “Jews don’t learn from history.” It’s rather like some of the other offensive comments on this blog that led to the current comments policy we developed: “Arabs are dogs. Arabs are inherently violent.” Etc.

    I don’t tolerate either kind of comment.

    – Lisa

  8. mustafa ramadan says:

    llwynn or Lisa ?

    I know the difference between Jews and Zionists very well. I do select my words. When I said Jews don’t learn from history, I meant Jews didn’t understand why they were hated and persecuted by other nations, Europeans in particular, before the appearance of Zionism in the 20th century, and did nothing to avoid future persecution. All Zionist Jews are Jews. There are also many Zionist Christians.
    Jews before Zionism and Zionist Jews didn’t and don’t learn from history. Is saying this racism, Lisa ??? Usurping Palestine forcibly and atrociously hasn’t solved their problem. It complicated and aggravated it. So, Zionist Jews, and Jews who don’t stop them, haven’t learned from history. I won’t give them lessons. Let them read what their critics say about them.

    The Jews and Zionists should ask themselves why other minorities weren’t maltreated and persecuted by other peoples especially in Europe. We, Arabs and Muslims, don’t hate Jews because they are Jews. Our Prophet Muhammad used to deal with Jews ordinarily and visit his sick Jewish neighbor, although they tried to kill him by poison and plotted against him with pagan Arabs. Saladin’s doctor was a Jew. King Hassan of Morocco and his son had and has the same Jewish advisor. Jews lived peacefully with Muslims and their golden age was when they were under Muslim rule in Al- Andalus. Further, they were protected by Moroccans when the fled Spain and the Inquisition.
    Enmity arose when the Zionists started to immigrate into Palestine in large numbers and finally expelled half of the Palestinians, and now they are still oppressing the rest and killing Palestinians almost daily.You know the rest of the horrible story and see it daily on TV.

  9. mustafa ramadan says:

    20 July 2008

    Lisa,
    1-Your last paragraph above is offensive enough, although you may deny that you meant it. What remains in our minds and memory is ” Arabs are dogs.” I don’t know if you tried to be “clever”.
    2-If you didn’t mean it, I think you should apologize in order to prove that you are refined and not a racist as you described me.
    3-Anyway, your sentence is syntactically ambiguous. Could you simplify it ?

    Correction to MY comment above:
    6th line from bottom: “they fled”, not ”th fled”

    Mustafa

  10. llwynn says:

    Mustafa, a while back we changed the comments policy on this site, and the precipitating factor was an obnoxious commenter who wrote some really racist things about Arabs. One of the things this commentator said was “Arabs are dogs.” As I said, we don’t tolerate racist comments from anyone, whether they’re directed towards Jews or Arabs. As a result we changed the comments policy so that all comments must be approved by the site moderator.

    And as to your question: YES. Saying that “Jews do not learn from history” IS RACIST because you are making a blanket statement about a group of people that has no basis in fact. Second, the implicit logic that somehow the Jews who have been persecuted throughout history are to BLAME for it and should study history to understand how they have somehow brought about their persecution is disgusting. Do you also recommend that Palestinians study history to understand why they have been persecuted by Israelis in this century?!?

    –LLWynn = Lisa L Wynn

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